I love today’s guest! She’s an adorable Southern belle with a sweet heart, and she’s here today to talk about the setting for her novel, In His Eyes! P.S. – isn’t she pretty in this dress she wore to CFRR? The question of the hour was “HOW did she get that in her suitcase?!?” 😉
Well hi, y’all! So lovely to see everyone for today’s tour of Belmont Plantation, the setting for my latest novel, In His Eyes. Established in 1857, Belmont is the last antebellum mansion along the river in the Mississippi Delta, standing at over 9,000 square feet.
Y’all say hi to Ella and come on through the front gate! Let’s see what all she has to show us today.
Ella: Welcome to Belmont, everyone! My, but isn’t it a lovely October day? Come on up on the porch with me. I’ll wait right here until everyone is gathered.
A bit of history about our home. The house was built between 1855 and 1861. It is a blend of the prevailing Greek Revival and Italianate styles of the day. The main two-story block is red brick with a full-height portico featuring square Doric columns, turned balustrades, and a pediment pierced by a circular window. The cornice line is heavily bracketed. The roof is of shallow pitch, hipped and crowned with molded chimneys. Windows are tall and narrow, capped with stone lintels. An ell extends from the main block to the rear.
I see we have all gathered now, come on in the front door.
Everyone watch your step please, and mind you don’t bring in too much dust. Sibby tends to fret over such things.
Ah, now, here we are in the front entry.
Take a close look up above at all that carved molding. Isn’t it beautiful? It is one of my favorite things about the house. The decorative work here at Belmont rivals the finest interiors of Natchez or Columbus.
Now, let’s move along into the ladies’ parlor, shall we? This is where I host neighbors when they come to call. You just missed Miss Martin, and I’m sure you’ll want to come again to meet her. She is such a dear.
If you have the time, perhaps we could enjoy a spot of refreshment? Here is Sibby with some now. And how about you fetch us a bit of biscuits and fig preserves, too please, Sibby. Y’all all have a seat for a bit and I’ll tell you a bit more about the house.
Originally, our grounds extended all the way to the Mississippi River. Just across the way a bit is the Martin’s home, Riverbend. That house suffered more directly than Belmont during the War Between the States, and I fear they lost nearly everything. Roving bands of troops wreaked havoc all across Washington County for several months, foraging and burning Greenville. Remarkably, Belmont, was spared. But that’s only because…well, never mind. A story for another time.
From here, we step into the dining room, were we take all of our meals. This is the window where I spied a most interesting bird, though Westly insists I watched something more. Our first tiff happened right here in those chairs…
Let’s cross the hall, shall we, and step into the music room. Shush now and don’t tell anyone, but I know Sibby has been hiding something mighty important in there…
But come on, let’s get on out before she suspects us of discovering her secrets.
All right now, it’s time for the special tour. We don’t show our upper rooms to anyone except our most treasured guests, which y’all surely are. Come join me up the stairs, will you?
Just a quick look into Westly’s room while he’s not looking…
And then we will step over to my room. The lovely rose paint is one of my favorite things about this space.
We won’t go through that door there into the nursery. Little Lee is taking his nap, and I don’t want to disturb him. His room connects to mine, and then Sibby’s room connects on the other side of the nursery so one of us is always near.
Ever since…oh, dear. I think I hear him now! I think I’ll have to leave y’all, but thank you for coming on by for a visit!
Stephenia: Thank you, Ella, for showing us your home. I’ll be happy to take everyone back out. Let’s step through this door in Ella’s room that takes us out onto the rear balcony.
Here we are at one of my favorite spots of the house. The giant screened porches! During Ella’s time they wouldn’t have had these to keep away the bugs, but if you come for a visit now, it’s a great place to relax. You won’t find any TV’s here at Belmont, it’s all about relaxation and stepping back into the past. This is a particularly nice place to sit and write or just enjoy the quiet of the Mississippi Delta.
Let’s head back outside, and get a good look at how big Belmont really is.
Here you can see the full floor plan:
Wasn’t this fun? Thank you for coming by. If you’d like to know a little more about how Ella came to be here, take a quick look at this:
And if you would like to experience Belmont yourself, CEO Camille Collins can tell you even more!
Thanks for stopping by!
Thank you so much, Stephenia and Ella! What a treat!! Here’s a little more about Stephenia and In His Eyes.
Her heart sought shelter. Her soul found home.
Ella Whitaker rescues a newborn from the dying arms of a woman of ill repute and at long last she has someone to love. In need of a wet nurse, she arrives at Belmont Plantation just as Federal soldiers demand to speak to the owner. Thinking quickly, Ella masquerades as a Yankee officer’s widow in order to have a roof over her head and a home for the child.
Major Westley Remington has dedicated his life to serving his country. The Civil War has divided his family, torn his thoughts of glory, and left him with a wound that may never heal. Westley returns home on medical furlough to settle his father’s estate at Belmont Plantation, only to find his home is being run by a fiery and independent woman—one many believe to be his wife. Now he is faced with a conflict he’s never been trained to fight, and one she has yet to conquer.
Author of six historical novels, Stephenia H. McGee has a fascination with hoop skirts, Greek revival homes, quirky Southern sayings, and home-grown recipes. She lives in Mississippi with her husband and two boys where she writes stories of faith, redemption, and life in the Deep South.
Stephenia is giving away a copy of In His Eyes to one of my readers. (Autographed paperback if US winner; International winner will receive ebook) Void where prohibited by law. This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.